Everyone is going through a lot right now. Between the devastation of the coronavirus outbreak, increasing unemployment and financial uncertainty, and the recent racial violence, so many of us are hurting. Instead of letting these ongoing challenges and hardships make us feel helpless and hopeless, we need to realize that we do have some power to enact change. At Rainbow Restaurant we feel strongly that we all have the potential to make our local communities better. Taking action doesn’t have to require a lot of time or donating tons of money. Small actions can build up to greater change over time. Here are a few easy ways that you can provide value to your local community each and every day.
Small acts of kindness can brighten someone’s day and leave a lasting impact on their life. Show strangers kindness every day. Say hello to people, give compliments, let someone ahead of you in line – all of these little gestures are so easy but are thoughtful and meaningful.
Lots of small businesses have taken a big hit after being shut down for so long. Customers rely on reviews and ratings to help them decide on the stores they shop at and the restaurants where they eat. Writing positive reviews for your favorite locally owned businesses on Yelp, Google and Trip Advisor can help these establishments build up their customer base and it only takes a few minutes.
Try to make it a habit of picking up litter whenever you see it on the street. Carry disposable gloves or plastic bags with you when you go out to make it easier. Getting trash off of the street makes your community look nicer and also helps protect the environment and animals.
Landfills are overflowing and a lot of garbage ends up in oceans and other water sources, causing pollution and killing wildlife. Recycling is an easy, impactful habit to adopt. Every time you drink from a bottle or can or open a box or plastic container, make sure you recycle it afterward.
A lot of people are so busy hustling and bustling through their own lives that they forget about manners. Always say please when you ask for things or order and remember to say thank you.
This may not be possible for you to do daily, but try using other forms of transportation that are green or help reduce carbon emissions as often as possible. Try biking, walking, or jogging instead of driving. If you’re traveling a longer distance or aren’t able to do those forms of physical activity, consider public transportation or carpooling. We unrolled our Bucks for Biking program in 2018 where we pay our staff members every time they bike (or walk, take the bus, carpool, etc. to work). It’s been a really effective program and our employees love it, and we love helping lower greenhouse gases.
Shopping local helps stimulate your local economy. Try to shop local as often as possible. Get groceries at the local market instead of a chain supermarket, buy books from a small bookshop instead of Barnes & Noble, and get your morning coffee from a cafe instead of Starbucks.
Lend a helping hand to seniors in your community. Offer to pick up groceries or prescriptions for elderly neighbors so that they don’t have to go out, bring in their mail, or mow their lawn. When you’re out, let them cut in front of you in line at the store.
Wage-earners like servers, bartenders, hairdressers, manicurists, etc. have been greatly affected by COVID-19 as many of them have been unable to work for months. Some still aren’t able to work now. When possible, leave as generous of a tip as you can. A few extra dollars can help make a difference and add up over time.
What issues are going on in your local community? Make it a point to educate yourself on the problems at hand and learn how you can help. Be an ally to those in need and push yourself to have tough conversations about things like racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and other forms of injustice.
These acts don’t take significant time, effort, or money. If you and everyone around you were to adopt these into daily life, your community could transform quickly and significantly. Don’t think that your actions don’t have the power to create positive change and make sure that you continue looking for ways to make your community a better place.